Ty Dillon came home “best of the rest” behind the dominant Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
The Richard Childress Racing driver started 17th on the Hisense 250 grid, but picked up a third-place finish that puts him into a tie at the top of the Xfinity standings with Roush Fenway Racing’s Chris Buescher, who finished fourth.
Dillon seized third position on a restart with 24 laps to go when Chase Elliott got loose off Turn 2 and fell back multiple positions (Elliott recovered to finish fifth). But Harvick, the eventual winner, and Logano were both too strong to be challenged as Dillon finished four seconds back.
“You’re racing against the guy that won the Daytona 500 and two guys who are battling for the [Sprint Cup] championship, so they obviously know what they’re doing,” said Dillon, who finished third in last week’s Xfinity season opener at Daytona. “You see them in front of you, you get hungry and you want to get up there and battle for those guys. But hopefully down the road, I’ll get more experience and be able to compete better in that situation.
“I was proud of our run. We battled from 17th to third, and when you get all the way up to the front, your car starts to handle a little bit different with the clean air. You’re definitely in the throttle a ton more. With all the circumstances, maybe with a couple of more restarts, we could’ve raced with them a little bit harder. But it is what it is.”
Dillon and Buescher and the rest of the Xfinity Series now head to next Saturday’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with 83 points apiece. Daytona winner Ryan Reed has slipped to third in the standings, eight points behind them, after finishing 16th in Atlanta.